I was going to write this article…but then I got on Reddit…
Ways to procrastinate doing real, academic work at UVa are plentiful. You’ll have friends to see, parties to go to, meetings to attend…Your time here shouldn’t be “all work, no play,” but you won’t last too long if it’s the opposite either. Finding that perfect balance, or maybe not even balance but just a good enough schedule that doesn’t completely exhaust you, is key.
My biggest problem with procrastination: I’m a last-minute type. Getting an assignment due in a week from now at 11:59PM? I’ll open it at 11:00PM in seven days. And this is not an experience unique to me. You’ll find that a lot here tend to work under pretty extreme pressure to get work done. When your school has on its list of things to do before you graduate “Pull an all-nighter in Clemons,” you know you’re entering a pretty highly pressurized academic environment.
However, I found it works for me. And yeah, I don’t exactly recommend it, but it hasn’t failed me yet – I just lose a lot more sleep than I wish I did. Sidenote: I swear you’ll “evolve” to not actually needing that much sleep at some point. When you spend all night putting the final touches (read: finally start and finish) your project and only get about a twenty-minute nap before your first class, but feel great the rest of the day, you’ll know.
So, what wisdom can I, a fourth year who has endured the battle with procrastination for so long, offer you? Here’s some advice from Reddit, where people who know how to procrastinate best teach you how not to procrastinate. I figure they must be experts.
And if that doesn’t work for you, here’s another technique:
Your Future Self as a Dear Friend
Consider your future self a dear friend of yours. This is a bit of a thought experiment and tricking your mind. You love this person, and although this person lives far away, you’re going to see this person soon. Now, start thinking in terms of how your all of your actions affect this friend. In doing this, take every bad habit you have and consider it as a favor your dear friend has done for you. You don’t want to leech off of this friend, so for every action you take to improve your bad habits (like procrastination, but it can be applied to other habits), consider it a favor you’re doing for your friend. If you’re able to balance this, or even better yet, do everything you can to make your friend’s life better, your habit can better stick! It’s all about how you think differently.
If thinking and acting different doesn’t do much good (it certainly doesn’t for me, and I’ve tried everything), there’s the more extreme ways of taking action: cutting yourself off completely…SelfControl is my personal favorite because it’s the only thing that’s really worked for me.
Go on other sites too much? There’s an app for that: Mac users should click here; Windows users should click here. Download the app on that page, open it up, add the sites you can’t get enough of, set a time limit for how long your computer should block them, and hit “Start.” But be warned, these are serious ways of keeping focus. You won’t be able to just restart your computer to get access back.
Addicted to your phone and constantly checking it? Turn on Airplane Mode while you’re working. It’ll silence most notifications, and you won’t be as tempted to check on it.
Get a Friend to Help
Go on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc. too much? Have your friend change your password for you, and they won’t be able to tell you the password until after you finish what you need to.
Hopefully these tips help you regain focus on your studies. SelfControl helped me write this post, at least. Now, back to Reddit…